The spirit of nursing: Embracing the profession

An important element of living a healthy life is a balance of physical, intellectual and spiritual well-being, which is reflected in the theme of the 2017 National Nurses Week: The Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit.

The foundation for this balance is happiness with your chosen profession – and most nurses are very satisfied with their line of work.

In fact, a full 85% of nearly 9,000 registered nurses queried for the AMN Healthcare Survey of Registered Nurses indicated that overall, they were satisfied with their choice of nursing as a career. Only 2% strongly disagreed with that assertion. And the percentages of those nurses who agree or strongly agree that they are satisfied with their profession holds true for all age levels, demographics and specialties.

More than two-thirds of nurses responding to the AMN survey said they would encourage others to become nurses, too, and this is particularly true with younger nurses. Nurses holding higher degrees were more likely to encourage others to become nurses. The overall percentage of those who said they would not recommend nursing to others was very low.

Similar results on nurses' satisfaction with nursing were found in the Medscape Nurse Career Satisfaction Report 2016, a survey of 10,026 nurses. That report found that 95% agreed that they were glad they became a nurse.

What makes nurses happy?
Registered nurses responding to the Medscape survey said working at a job they like was the single most rewarding aspect of their jobs. Others said that being very good at what they do, establishing relationships with patients, and just proud of being a nurse were very rewarding.

Nurse's positive feelings about their jobs result in better patient safety and outcomes, according to numerous research reports. One study found that a good work environment with satisfied nurses was associated with lower 30-day readmission rates for heart failure, myocardial infarction and pneumonia among Medicare patients. Another study found that patients experienced fewer infections, fewer hospital-acquired pressure ulcers, and improved quality of care when nurses were satisfied with their jobs.

Optimism about the Future
The AMN survey of RNs showed that nurses are optimistic about the future of nursing for several reasons. Advancements in technology have led to improvements in the quality of nursing care, said many survey respondents, citing diagnostic tools, bed alarms and smart infusion pumps as examples. Some also mentioned computer-based charting systems; better technology has enabled nurses to be more efficient: They can do more in less time, and some say they've been able to spend more time at the bedside as a result.

New technology also has improved the safety of care by reducing the incidence of errors, especially in medication prescription and administration. Nurses can look up valuable patient information much more easily, which helps them provide more targeted treatments and improve the continuity of care.

Another reason for optimism is the advancement of education and training. Nurses are spending more time in school—and in better education programs. They have more opportunities for continuing education, in-service education and certification, which result in higher levels of knowledge and skills, said many respondents to the AMN nurse survey.

Also, advancements in treatment, medication and the overall knowledge base of medicine are helping nurses provide better patient care. Survey respondents noted that nurses have a stronger role in healthcare -- with more autonomy and recognition.

The role of the nurse has become increasingly important in many aspects of healthcare, from bedside to leadership, and that progress has enhanced satisfaction with the career of nursing.

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